John Hodgman, comedian and resident expert, "explains" the design of three iconic modern objects. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, architecture, design, humor, TED2012, 2012
As founder of the Ig Nobel awards, Marc Abrahams explores the world’s most improbable research. In this thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) talk, he tells stories of truly weird science -- and makes the case that silliness is critical to boosting public interest in science. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, humor, science, technology, TEDMED 2014, 2014
Chip Kidd doesn’t judge books by their cover, he creates covers that embody the book -- and he does it with a wicked sense of humor. In one of the funniest talks from TED2012, he shows the art and deep thought of his cover designs. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, creativity, design, humor, literature, TED2012, 2012
Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2012, TED, Talks, business, entertainment, humor, music, 2012
Illustrious jugglers the Raspyni Brothers show off their uncanny balance, agility, coordination and willingness to sacrifice (others). Now, if you'll just stand completely still... Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, collaboration, entertainment, humor, physics, 2002
Sarah Jones changes personas with the simplest of wardrobe swaps. In a laugh-out-loud improvisation, she invites 11 "friends" from the future on stage—from a fast-talking Latina to an outspoken police officer—to ask them questions supplied by the TED2014 audience. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, future, humor, performance, theater, TED2014, 2014
Every act of communication is, in some way, an act of translation. Onstage at TEDxRainier, writer Chris Bliss thinks hard about the way that great comedy can translate deep truths for a mass audience. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxRainier, TED, Talks, communication, entertainment, humor, language, literature, 2011
They're millions of digits long, and it takes an army of mathematicians and machines to hunt them down -- what's not to love about monster primes? Adam Spencer, comedian and lifelong math geek, shares his passion for these odd numbers, and for the mysterious magic of math. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, humor, math, TED2013, 2013
In this funny, casual talk from TEDx, writer Jenna McCarthy shares surprising research on how marriages (especially happy marriages) really work. One tip: Do not try to win an Oscar for best actre Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxAmericanRiviera, TED, Talks, culture, humor, love, relationships, sex, 2011
The New Yorker receives around 1,000 cartoons each week; it only publishes about 17 of them. In this hilarious, fast-paced, and insightful talk, the magazine's longstanding cartoon editor and self-proclaimed "humor analyst" Bob Mankoff dissects the comedy within just some of the "idea drawings" featured in the magazine, explaining what works, what doesn't, and why. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, arts, design, humor, TEDSalon NY2013, 2013
What does real scientific work look like? As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein jokes: It looks a lot less like the scientific method and a lot more like "farting around … in the dark." In this witty talk, Firestein gets to the heart of science as it is really practiced and suggests that we should value what we don’t know -- or “high-quality ignorance” -- just as much as what we know. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, education, humor, neuroscience, science, TED2013, 2013
Which of the following is awesome: your lunch or the Great Pyramid of Giza? Comedian Jill Shargaa sounds a hilarious call for us to save the word "awesome" for things that truly inspire awe. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, humor, language, TED@NYC, 2014
Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue -- and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, design, humor, journalism, TED2012, 2012
Like your uncle at a family party, the rumpled Swedish doctor Lennart Green says, "Pick a card, any card." But what he does with those cards is pure magic -- flabbergasting, lightning-fast, how-does-he-do-it? magic. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, illusion, magic, TED2005, 2005
Stella Young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn’t, she’d like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society's habit of turning disabled people into “inspiration porn.” Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, activism, disability, humor, motivation, TEDxSydney, 2014
In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification -- and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2009, TED, Talks, children, culture, humor, psychology, 2009
Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani takes to the TEDxSummit stage in Doha, Qatar to take on serious issues in the Middle East -- like how many kisses to give when saying “Hi,” and what not to say on an American airplane. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, culture, entertainment, humor, performance, TEDxSummit, 2012
Combining dry wit with artistic depth, Billy Collins shares a project in which several of his poems were turned into delightful animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel. Five of them are included in this wonderfully entertaining and moving talk -- and don't miss the hilarious final poem! Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, entertainment, humor, poetry, TED2012, 2012
Great design is a never-ending journey of discovery -- for which it helps to pack a healthy sense of humor. Sociologist and surfer-turned-designer David Carson walks through a gorgeous (and often quite funny) slide deck of his work and found images. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, design, exploration, humor, photography, 2003
Performance poet (and math student) Harry Baker spins a love poem about his favorite kind of numbers — the lonely, love-lorn prime. Stay on for two more lively, inspiring poems from this charming performer. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, humor, math, poetry, spoken word, TEDxExeter, 2014
Chris Abani tells stories of people: People standing up to soldiers. People being compassionate. People being human and reclaiming their humanity. It's "ubuntu," he says: the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2008, TED, Talks, Africa, culture, entertainment, humanity, humor, literature, poetry,...
Two TED favorites, Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney, team up for a delightful set that mixes witty songwriting with a little bit of social commentary. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, collaboration, entertainment, guitar, humor, short talk, singer,...
Web cartoonist Randall Munroe answers simple what-if questions ("what if you hit a baseball moving at the speed of light?") using math, physics, logic and deadpan humor. In this charming talk, a reader’s question about Google's data warehouse leads Munroe down a circuitous path to a hilariously over-detailed answer — in which, shhh, you might actually learn something. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, art, humor, math, physics, science, TED2014, 2014
Listen closely -- Marvin Minsky's arch, eclectic, charmingly offhand talk on health, overpopulation and the human mind is packed with subtlety: wit, wisdom and just an ounce of wily, is-he-joking? advice. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, brain, health, humanity, humor, politics, science, technology, 2003
Humorist John Hodgman rambles through a new story about aliens, physics, time, space and the way all of these somehow contribute to a sweet, perfect memory of falling in love. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, love, physics, science, TED2008, 2008
In this hilariously lively performance, actress Sarah Jones channels an opinionated elderly Jewish woman, a fast-talking Dominican college student and more, giving TED2009 just a sample of her spectacular character range. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, New York, culture, humanity, humor, performance, storytelling, theater,...
On the web, a new "Friend" may be just a click away, but true connection is harder to find and express. Ze Frank presents a medley of zany Internet toys that require deep participation -- and reward it with something more nourishing. You're invited, if you promise you'll share. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2010, TED, Talks, Internet, comedy, gaming, humanity, humor, music, play,...
For a full year, A.J. Jacobs followed every piece of health advice he could -- from applying sunscreen by the shot glass to wearing a bicycle helmet while shopping. Onstage at TEDMED, he shares the surprising things he learned. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDMED 2011, TED, Talks, culture, entertainment, health, humor, self, 2011
J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias -- back to its magical beginnings. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, entertainment, film, humor, storytelling, technology, 2007
You may not know it yet, but AJ Jacobs is probably your cousin (many, many times removed). Using genealogy websites, he’s been following the unexpected links that make us all, however distantly, related. His goal: to throw the world’s largest family reunion. See you there? Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, genetics, history, humanity, humor, TEDActive 2014, 2014
Human beatbox James "AudioPoet" Burchfield performs an intricate three-minute breakdown -- sexy, propulsive hip-hop rhythms and turntable textures -- all using only his voice. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, illusion, live music, music, performance, 2003
You use paper towels to dry your hands every day, but chances are, you're doing it wrong. In this enlightening and funny short talk, Joe Smith reveals the trick to perfect paper towel technique. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, entertainment, green, hack, humor, materials, simplicity, tedx,...
Bruce McCall paints a future that never happened -- full of flying cars, polo-playing tanks and the RMS Tyrannic, "The Biggest Thing in All the World." At Serious Play '08, he narrates a brisk and funny slideshow of his faux-nostalgic art. Topics: TEDTalks, Serious Play 2008, TED, Talks, art, arts, entertainment, humor, media, 2008
Ursus Wehrli shares his vision for a cleaner, more organized, tidier form of art -- by deconstructing the paintings of modern masters into their component pieces, sorted by color and size. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, art, arts, design, entertainment, humor, performance, TED2006, 2006
Sculptor and engineer Arthur Ganson talks about his work -- kinetic art that explores deep philosophical ideas and is gee-whiz fun to look at. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, art, arts, design, engineering, entertainment, humor, philosophy,...
Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin … Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, community, entertainment, humanity, humor, performance, TED2014, 2014
Artist Uldus Bakhtiozina uses photographs to poke fun at societal norms in her native Russia. A glimpse into Russian youth culture and a short, fun reminder not to take ourselves too seriously. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, TED Fellows, art, humor, photography, TED2014, 2014
People aren’t just cooking anymore -- they’re cooking, texting, talking on the phone, watching YouTube and uploading photos of the awesome meal they just made. Designer Paolo Cardini questions the efficiency of our multitasking world and makes the case for -- gasp -- "monotasking." His charming 3D-printed smartphone covers just might help. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, design, humor, product design, technology, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
Reed Kroloff gives us a new lens for judging new architecture: is it modern, or is it romantic? Look for glorious images from two leading practices -- and a blistering critique of the 9/11 planning process. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, architecture, art, business, design, humor, 2003
Beware: Rives has a contagious obsession with 4 a.m. At TED2007, the poet shared what was then a minor fixation with a time that kept popping up everywhere. But after the talk, emails starting pouring in with obscure, hilarious references—from the cover of "Crochet Today!" magazine to twin mentions in "The Flintstones" and "The Jetsons." A lyrical peek into his Museum of Four in the Morning, which overflows with treasures. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, spoken word, storytelling, TEDActive 2014, 2014
Speaking at the most recent EG conference, author, philosopher, prankster and journalist A.J. Jacobs talks about the year he spent living biblically -- following the rules in the Bible as literally as possible. Topics: TEDTalks, EG 2007, TED, Talks, culture, entertainment, humanity, humor, religion, writing, 2007
In his typically candid style, Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey. He uses the story of his business' rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson -- when we stop trying, we fail. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2009, TED, Talks, antidepressants, business, consumerism, humor, life, productivity,...
Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see what’s possible in the metropolitan landscape. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, cities, culture, design, green, humor, sustainability,...
Despite her best efforts, comedian Julia Sweeney is forced to tell a little white lie when her 8-year-old begins learning about frog reproduction -- and starts to ask some very smart questio Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, children, comedy, humor, relationships, sex, TED2010, 2010
New York Times tech columnist David Pogue performs a satirical mini-medley about iTunes and the downloading wars, borrowing a few notes from Sonny and Cher and the Village People. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, entertainment, humor, music, short talk, technology, 2007
Diseases of the body garner sympathy, says comedian Ruby Wax -- except those of the brain. Why is that? With dazzling energy and humor, Wax, diagnosed a decade ago with clinical depression, urges us to put an end to the stigma of mental illness. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, activism, brain, comedy, culture, entertainment, evolution, humor, mental...
Designer Philippe Starck -- with no pretty slides to show -- spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, design, humanity, humor, philosophy, storytelling, 2007
Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi spins through a dizzying array of inspirations -- from '50s pinups to a fleeting glimpse of a woman on the street who makes him shout "Stop the cab!" Inside this rambling talk are real clues to living a happy, creative life. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, business, creativity, design, entertainment, humor, media, TED2008, 2008